The music on this album was inspired by the wonderful instrument called Inuk from the Godin Guitar Company. My good friend Robert Godin designed this instrument based on his Multioud project, but adapted for guitar players using steel strings and including frets. It has 11 strings, a single bass string, then 5 dual chorused strings. The instrument may be tuned like the oud, or like the guitar. I tune it like a guitar, and detune the bass string based on the key.
The seven songs on this album evolved from improvisations that sought to explore this instrument’s unusual and distinctive sounds. I plugged the output of the Inuk directly into my audio interface, and recorded the sound as is, complete with all its distinctive character, including sounds made from scraping the pick against the strings, fingers rubbing the strings, tapping the body, etc. I used both plectrum and fingerpicking styles, again to find as many different sounds from the instrument as possible.
I dedicate this album and the music to my dear friend Robert, because without his instrument, this album would never have been possible.
The title came from the fact that the piece is in 12/8 meter, and developed from me exploring some arpeggiated chords on the Inuk, and the sound just took me away and the melody just popped into my head, I love the 4:3 rhythms that came out of the arpeggios. I decided to add synths, and Bruce Nifong on soprano sax as I wanted the sound of the Inuk to contrast with electronic and more recognizable instrumental sounds. This piece began the journey… Here is the Logic file for “Twelves:”
The Psalms of David
OK, my name is David Stefan Mash, and the artist for this album is my Stefan persona, who is exploring meditative sounds and minimalist composition. The sound of the Inuk takes me to deeply spiritual places and I decided to improvise and capture the explorations of different keys, time signatures, and tempos. These feel deeply religious, like psalms, so I hit on the idea of the play on my name and wrote 5 psalms for the Inuk, The Psalms of David:
This one is in D minor. There are just 3 tracks here, 2 Inuk tracks and big drum. I experimented with several minor modalities to find the deep inner feelings inspired by the various sounds this wonderful instrument can make, then I just kept going. This was as meditative to make as it is to listen. I hope this brings some deeply spiritual moods for you.
This one is in C Major, and is another exploration of the sounds of the Inuk. Every instrument sounds different in each key and in different ranges. Here I explored C Major and some modal interchanges, playing with the subdominant over the tonic pedal, and occasionally borrowing from C Mixolydian. Again, just 2 tracks of Inuk, some tambourine and the big drum.
In Psalm III I explore the major modalities of G in triple time, 3/4. This has 7 tracks of Inuk, 2 tracks of percussion and a spiccato string part.
Here it is in Logic:
Another exploration in D, and much chromaticism. So many colors within this instrument. Here again, just 2 tracks of Inuk, along with some electronic synthesizer bass and a couple of pads to contrast and support the Inuk sounds. Again some percussion and the big drums. Then there is a B section in B minor (Phrygian) which makes sense since it’s the relative minor of D.
Here is what Psalm IV looks like in Logic:
Psalm V features 5 tracks of Inuk, Bass synth, 4 tracks of percussion plus the big drum, and I asked my good friend Bruce Nifong to join me for the soprano sax part. He really found the sound – his soprano sounds like a Ney here! This one is in E Phrygian (again with some modal interchange) and a B section in A minor.
Here it is in Logic:
This one features the Inuk in A Major, but again with modal interchanges. There are 3 tracks of Inuk, but really just 2 parts at any time, and again with synthesized bass and pad tracks and some percussion tracks. Oh, and Bruce Nifong again on soprano saxophone, again really finding the right sound for this. I was also exploring the tremolo sounds of this great instrument.